Hansen and Schmidt of NASA GISS under fire for climate stance: Engineers, scientists, astronauts ask NASA administration to look at empirical evidence rather than climate models

Jim Hansen arrest at White House

An embarrassing image for NASA: James Hansen, arrested in front of the White House in Keystone pipeline protest. Image: via Wonk Room

Looks like another GISS miss, more than a few people are getting fed up with Jim Hansen and Gavin Schmidt and their climate shenanigans. Some very prominent NASA voices speak out in a scathing letter to current NASA administrator Charles Bolden, Jr.. When Chris Kraft, the man who presided over NASA’s finest hour, and the engineering miracle of saving Apollo 13 speaks, people listen. UPDATE: I’ve added a poll at the end of this story.

See also: The Right Stuff: what the NASA astronauts say about global warming

Former NASA scientists, astronauts admonish agency on climate change position


Contact: Blanquita Cullum 703-307-9510 bqview at mac.com

Joint letter to NASA Administrator blasts agency’s policy of ignoring empirical evidence

HOUSTON, TX – April 10, 2012.

49 former NASA scientists and astronauts sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden last week admonishing the agency for it’s role in advocating a high degree of certainty that man-made CO2 is a major cause of climate change while neglecting empirical evidence that calls the theory into question.

The group, which includes seven Apollo astronauts and two former directors of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, are dismayed over the failure of NASA, and specifically the Goddard Institute For Space Studies (GISS), to make an objective assessment of all available scientific data on climate change. They charge that NASA is relying too heavily on complex climate models that have proven scientifically inadequate in predicting climate only one or two decades in advance.

H. Leighton Steward, chairman of the non-profit Plants Need CO2, noted that many of the former NASA scientists harbored doubts about the significance of the C02-climate change theory and have concerns over NASA’s advocacy on the issue. While making presentations in late 2011 to many of the signatories of the letter, Steward realized that the NASA scientists should make their concerns known to NASA and the GISS.

“These American heroes – the astronauts that took to space and the scientists and engineers that put them there – are simply stating their concern over NASA’s extreme advocacy for an unproven theory,” said Leighton Steward. “There’s a concern that if it turns out that CO2 is not a major cause of climate change, NASA will have put the reputation of NASA, NASA’s current and former employees, and even the very reputation of science itself at risk of public ridicule and distrust.”

Select excerpts from the letter:

  • “The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.”
  • “We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated.”
  • “We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject.”

The full text of the letter:

March 28, 2012

The Honorable Charles Bolden, Jr.

NASA Administrator

NASA Headquarters

Washington, D.C. 20546-0001

Dear Charlie,

We, the undersigned, respectfully request that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites. We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.

The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.

As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate. We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.

For additional information regarding the science behind our concern, we recommend that you contact Harrison Schmitt or Walter Cunningham, or others they can recommend to you.

Thank you for considering this request.


(Attached signatures)

CC: Mr. John Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator for Science

CC: Ass Mr. Chris Scolese, Director, Goddard Space Flight Center

Ref: Letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, dated 3-26-12, regarding a request for NASA to refrain from making unsubstantiated claims that human produced CO2 is having a catastrophic impact on climate change.

/s/ Jack Barneburg, Jack – JSC, Space Shuttle Structures, Engineering Directorate, 34 years

/s/ Larry Bell – JSC, Mgr. Crew Systems Div., Engineering Directorate, 32 years

/s/ Dr. Donald Bogard – JSC, Principal Investigator, Science Directorate, 41 years

/s/ Jerry C. Bostick – JSC, Principal Investigator, Science Directorate, 23 years

/s/ Dr. Phillip K. Chapman – JSC, Scientist – astronaut, 5 years

/s/ Michael F. Collins, JSC, Chief, Flight Design and Dynamics Division, MOD, 41 years

/s/ Dr. Kenneth Cox – JSC, Chief Flight Dynamics Div., Engr. Directorate, 40 years

/s/ Walter Cunningham – JSC, Astronaut, Apollo 7, 8 years

/s/ Dr. Donald M. Curry – JSC, Mgr. Shuttle Leading Edge, Thermal Protection Sys., Engr. Dir., 44 years

/s/ Leroy Day – Hdq. Deputy Director, Space Shuttle Program, 19 years

/s/ Dr. Henry P. Decell, Jr. – JSC, Chief, Theory & Analysis Office, 5 years

/s/Charles F. Deiterich – JSC, Mgr., Flight Operations Integration, MOD, 30 years

/s/ Dr. Harold Doiron – JSC, Chairman, Shuttle Pogo Prevention Panel, 16 years

/s/ Charles Duke – JSC, Astronaut, Apollo 16, 10 years

/s/ Anita Gale

/s/ Grace Germany – JSC, Program Analyst, 35 years

/s/ Ed Gibson – JSC, Astronaut Skylab 4, 14 years

/s/ Richard Gordon – JSC, Astronaut, Gemini Xi, Apollo 12, 9 years

/s/ Gerald C. Griffin – JSC, Apollo Flight Director, and Director of Johnson Space Center, 22 years

/s/ Thomas M. Grubbs – JSC, Chief, Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Branch, 31 years

/s/ Thomas J. Harmon

/s/ David W. Heath – JSC, Reentry Specialist, MOD, 30 years

/s/ Miguel A. Hernandez, Jr. – JSC, Flight crew training and operations, 3 years

/s/ James R. Roundtree – JSC Branch Chief, 26 years

/s/ Enoch Jones – JSC, Mgr. SE&I, Shuttle Program Office, 26 years

/s/ Dr. Joseph Kerwin – JSC, Astronaut, Skylab 2, Director of Space and Life Sciences, 22 years

/s/ Jack Knight – JSC, Chief, Advanced Operations and Development Division, MOD, 40 years

/s/ Dr. Christopher C. Kraft – JSC, Apollo Flight Director and Director of Johnson Space Center, 24 years

/s/ Paul C. Kramer – JSC, Ass.t for Planning Aeroscience and Flight Mechanics Div., Egr. Dir., 34 years

/s/ Alex (Skip) Larsen

/s/ Dr. Lubert Leger – JSC, Ass’t. Chief Materials Division, Engr. Directorate, 30 years

/s/ Dr. Humbolt C. Mandell – JSC, Mgr. Shuttle Program Control and Advance Programs, 40 years

/s/ Donald K. McCutchen – JSC, Project Engineer – Space Shuttle and ISS Program Offices, 33 years

/s/ Thomas L. (Tom) Moser – Hdq. Dep. Assoc. Admin. & Director, Space Station Program, 28 years

/s/ Dr. George Mueller – Hdq., Assoc. Adm., Office of Space Flight, 6 years

/s/ Tom Ohesorge

/s/ James Peacock – JSC, Apollo and Shuttle Program Office, 21 years

/s/ Richard McFarland – JSC, Mgr. Motion Simulators, 28 years

/s/ Joseph E. Rogers – JSC, Chief, Structures and Dynamics Branch, Engr. Directorate,40 years

/s/ Bernard J. Rosenbaum – JSC, Chief Engineer, Propulsion and Power Division, Engr. Dir., 48 years

/s/ Dr. Harrison (Jack) Schmitt – JSC, Astronaut Apollo 17, 10 years

/s/ Gerard C. Shows – JSC, Asst. Manager, Quality Assurance, 30 years

/s/ Kenneth Suit – JSC, Ass’t Mgr., Systems Integration, Space Shuttle, 37 years

/s/ Robert F. Thompson – JSC, Program Manager, Space Shuttle, 44 years/s/ Frank Van Renesselaer – Hdq., Mgr. Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters, 15 years

/s/ Dr. James Visentine – JSC Materials Branch, Engineering Directorate, 30 years

/s/ Manfred (Dutch) von Ehrenfried – JSC, Flight Controller; Mercury, Gemini & Apollo, MOD, 10 years

/s/ George Weisskopf – JSC, Avionics Systems Division, Engineering Dir., 40 years

/s/ Al Worden – JSC, Astronaut, Apollo 15, 9 years

/s/ Thomas (Tom) Wysmuller – JSC, Meteorologist, 5 years


hat tip to to Bob Ferguson, SPPI

UPDATE: I’ve added this poll:


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Obviously these guys aren’t “real” climate scientists…..only “rocket scientists”… 😉
…IOW, they don’t understand the complexities of the blah…blah…blah……


Dr James Hansen, director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who first made warnings about climate change in the 1980s, said that public scepticism about the threat of man-made climate change has increased despite the growing scientific consensus.
Speaking ahead of a public lecture in Edinburgh this week, he admitted that without public support it will be impossible to make the changes he and his colleagues believe need to occur to protect future generations from the effects of climate change.
He blamed sceptics who are opposed to major social and economic changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for employing “tremendous resources” to undermine the scientific evidence.

I wonder just how he defines “tremendous resources”

Come on guys. Give Hansen a little more time and the empirical evidence will appear ,… out of nowhere … and suddenly be warmer today and colder in the past.

Mark Bofill

Bunch of retired NASA engineers and scientists. Bah! What do they know? I mean, except how to rigorously apply a disciplined methodology and careful scientific thought to incomplete data to make insanely difficult missions work. /sarc

Luther Wu

It’s about time!


Bravo to these brave men and women ! I’ve considered NASA and GISS joke organizations for years now and never take anything they say about climate seriously. If they want to rehabilitate their credibility they should fire Hansen.

You know they’ll just say “and look – not a climate scientist in the bunch”.
Rocket scientists vs. Climate scientists.
Can you imagine Hansen in charge of launch control?

No Whining

“I have become Prostelyzer, Destroyer of Science”
— James Hansen, Megalomanic Extraordinaire

jack morrow

Maybe this will start the door opening for Hansen to leave but since his noble leader does not want AGW to go away,he probably will stay. ALAS.

Phil C

With hundreds of well-known climate scientists …declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts … it is clear that the science is NOT settled.

Tom G(ologist)

“These American heroes – the astronauts that took to space and the scientists and engineers that put them there – are simply stating their concern over NASA’s extreme advocacy for an unproven theory,” said Leighton Steward.
Correction: “…extreme advocacy for an unproven HYPOTHESIS.”


There’s a concern that if it turns out that CO2 is not a major cause of climate change, NASA will have put the reputation of NASA, NASA’s current and former employees, and even the very reputation of science itself at risk of public ridicule and distrust.”

Huh! I thought it was already happening in frightening slow motion. Hansen’s name and reputation will go down in history as a scaremonger who shamed his name, institution, and no one will ever believe a single word GISS has to say on today’s weather let alone the climate.


Talk about a list of scientific / engineering heavy hitters …

A reminder – Harrison Schmitt is on the Board of Directors of the Heartland Institute, so some people might consider him tainted. Personally, after talking with him for a while at the Chicago ICCC, he’s managed to remain a very personable, and (dare I say it) “down to Earth” demeanor. He’s also the only geologist to reach the Moon, and geologists have a much better “world view” about the impacts of climate change than people from any other branch of science.
So, this is going to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. I heard Dr. Hansen talk at a Mensa Colloquium a few years ago, he was careful to he was speaking as a private citizen. I’m tempted to complain to Bolden for every news media piece that doesn’t make that clear, e.g. the recent stories in the news about Hansen and his lecture at Edinburgh. It should be Hansen’s responsibilty to make sure the new media are corrected about that, and infringements should be brought to NASA’s attention.


The world is waking up, one rocket scientist at a time. Long live the slide rule.


Yeah, but how many are climate scientists? /SARC
The climate scientists are in a feeding frenzy from the public teat.

Duke Kraft Cunningham Schmitt Kerwin Worden…the list is going to hurt many, many people.
Wait now for the Bad Astronomer to poo-poo them one by one. Moon hoaxers will rejoice.

to Mark Bofill , you say:
” Bunch of retired NASA engineers and scientists. Bah! ”
Think think think, Mark.
Why do you not wonder howcome so many engeneers and scientists happen to speak out only when they are retired??
The fact that peoble wait until after retirement to speak out should us all even more concerned of what is going on in climate “scence”.

Hot under the collar

This proves it,
To warming alarmists skepticism IS rocket science.


The Weather Clown has been busy destroying actual thermometer readings for decades. Actual readings may be harder to find than one might think. Remember that NIWA (New Zealand) only got caught when they were unaware that the national library had a compilation of all old weather data. Until that point NIWA provided altered data as original.


henrythethird says: “Can you imagine Hansen in charge of launch control?”
Well it goes something like this with people like these as astronauts:
[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncBSOyte6lA ]

It’s about time the honest scientists, engineers and others at NASA and GISS speak up against the blatant fraud being perpetrated on US citizens via global warming propoganda. I do think they may be too late, though. They should’ve done this years ago instead of waiting for the scrutiny to fade.


There is no question that NASA and GISS deserve a thorough house cleaning, starting at the top. Ditto EPA of course.
However, the electorate will return Pres. Obama and a Dem house due to the rediculous nature of Rommney running on tax breaks for the rich when he pays less income tax as a percentage than probably his hair stylist.
Thus this letter from the NASA allumni is the only way to address the issue of bad science. The signataries must now step into the media spotlight and make good science an issue during this election. Only then will Pres. Obama slow his carbon agenda. There is no hope of him seeing the light and abandoning it, after all, it is a new religion for many.


Too little too late.
It has made me very sad to watch NASA throw its reputation away over this nonsense.
I dreamed of working there as a kid – and I would now beg my own kids to stay well clear of it if such an opportunity arose.
I’m afraid there will be no going back from this – for them or the Royal Society.
Future pronouncements are valueless.
How did they ever let this happen?

Luther Wu

Of all the unmitigated gall…
These people are former NASA “employees” and quite obviously out of the loop and uninformed.
Their letter has absolutely nothing to do with the Commander- In- Chief’s new mission for NASA: reaching out to the Muslim World.

Kent S.

just to point out the obvious. NASA has had its space exploration wings clipped. NASA and GISS are getting grants for Climate Change studies. Where is the money? Pay me an hundred thou a year and I’ll produce a scientific paper that says that the monkeys are causing climate change, if that’s what you want to hear.


The poll looks tight between the retirement supporters and the keep him on. I voted to keep him on.


Hansen will just say that they are, ‘the wrong stuff!’


Bwaaaa!! (sorry… I couldn’t help it)
I knew it was only a matter of time before REAL scientists would start to take a stand against this CAGW charade.
This trickle of brave scientists will soon turn into a torrent, and eventually it will be a race across academia of who in their department were the first to express serious doubt on this awful CAGW *sigh*ence.
I’m going to take the time to send many of the signatories of this letter to Bolden an e-mail thanking them for their courage.

Big D in TX

I am one who would join the sentiment of, “with my taxes, I purchase civilization”.
However, I am not okay with paying this man’s bills.
So while I wanted to click keep him going, I say skip the watch, and give him a boot in the behind on the way out the door. He obviously will not stop spouting nonsense once (if) removed from his position at NASA – but I think it would do a lot to help discredit him and the entire movement, if the original warmist himself was sacked for his lies and abuse of power.
All that said, this just made my whole week 😀

Oh Dear. Sounds like Mr Hansen should not have travelled to Scotland, because the rebels are raising Cain, while he’s out of the country. Very medieval stuff really. No doubt, it’ll reinforce both his martyrdom for the cause and his messianic complex.

Leo Morgan

Fire somebody for being wrong?
Hell no!
That’s a warmist tactic.
A voice of dissent is always needed. We might think we’re right, we might actually even be right, but we cannot know we’re right unless we’ve heard and considered every alternate argument.


HEROES! These are my heroes. Those men and women who put us in space. Welcome home.

S. Geiger

What, no Oliver Manual…what gives?


What a novel idea! Let the data lead, not the models. The only thing surprising is that it took them so long to ask that question.


I think this leter comes from Heartland too LOL
REPLY: No, it doesn’t and you’re an idiot for suggesting it does – Anthony


It’s about time some heroes stepped up to help out when emprical data alone is losing the battle to illogic and policy drift. Looking on the bright side, at least all that massive computer data leak from NASA is just giving junk info to the pirates and spies–oh except for that three-stage nuclear- capable missile about to be fired from North Korea.


Wait fo the documentary on the History channel.
The rise and fall of NASA from Redstone rocket to Keystone pipeline.


This is excellent. Things are opening up at last. What a relief to see a story like this.


NASA should not worry about losing credibility because of Hanson and Schmidt. They lost it when they had 8 years to replace the shuttle (the span of time from the mandate to get to the moon and achieving the goal spanned), came up with something that looked like the Apollo moon rocket and then could not pull it off.
I will admit it is embarrising that Hanson and Schmidt don’t seem to like satellite data much, preferring old terrestial instruments in constant need of correction. As far as the “tremendous resources” Hanson acuses skeptics like these of having, he has a point. These people are retired and no longer have to rely on government grants for support to make ends meet so they no longer have to hew to a narrative. They are free to say what they think.


good for them. Now I wonder if any of this will ever be covered by the Mainstream Media….Not


Mr. Green “skyrocket” himself is still in charge! The EPA continues to kill jobs while the DOE continues to make fake jobs. It will take many years to recover from the damage done to the U.S. economy if a regime change is made in the next election. The damage will continue if no change is made.


“It’s time for a register of interests for science academics”
“Researchers can be as transparent about who funded their work as chefs are about rats behind the fridge, says Brian Deer”
In the Guardian

Rogelio escobar

The letter should have been sent to mainstream media, as it will have no effect, since the Heads of NASA will throw it in the wastepaper basket. I think that we will find that mainstream politicians and parties, Universities and even prominent warmist climate scientists will start avoiding the AGW issue which will completely but discreetly disappear over time over the next 2 to 3 years. In the end its was ONLY the actual temp data that did it/will do it oops. We will then be left with Governments green agendas, Greenpeace etc… fighting about alternate energy sources, pollution, overpopulation city design etc which I certainly have no objection to etc. However they will no longer mention C02 induced global warming. It very hard to get these types of people to ever admit they were wrong totally BTW so sorry guys/gals we will only get a phyrric victory LOL

Steve Jones

As someone has already said, as a kid I used to dream of working for NASA. Now I can hardly even look at the NASA website because you have to wade through all the PC sh*te before getting to what that once great organisation should be all about. Even then, the truly inspirational stuff, the stuff that inspires our youth to achieve greatness, is found aging away in the archives. NASA has largely replaced its hero astronaut, engineer and managerial staff with tedious bureaucrats with no dreams or vision. Is it any wonder NASA has atrophied and become a haven for charlatans the likes of Hansen.


Leo Morgan says: April 10, 2012 at 11:21 am

A voice of dissent is always needed. We might think we’re right, we might actually even be right, but we cannot know we’re right unless we’ve heard and considered every alternate argument.

Okay Leo, we’ve been listening to Hansen spout his Catastrophic Anthropomorphic Global Warming rhetoric for nearly three decades now. Just how long do *YOU* suggest that we need to keep considering the same failed argument before we can finally reject it?
The CAWG hypothesis has had more than enough time to “prove” itself and yet the empirical data is still not supporting it. As far as I am concerned, with all the fail predictions / projections and the massaged / manipulated data we’ve seen from GISS (and others), it’s high time we finally called BS on Hansen, Gore, Mann and all the other “CAWG high priests” and move on.


The odd thing is keeping Hansen in post and in the public eye is actual a good idea for AGW skeptics given his ‘over the top’ maddness that works only with the AGW faithful but turns off most other people .

Has any MSM picked it up yet?

Get out! *
– to borrow a phrase from Elaine Benes, a character on Seinfeld, “the show about nothing”.
* Physical moments, Seinfeld show